About broadband speed
Broadband speed FAQs
What speed can I get?
When you sign up with us, move home/office, or change your package, we'll give you an estimate of the speed you should be getting, in Megabits per second (Mbps). For example, we might say you could get '16 to 18Mbps'. Under normal circumstances the speed you get should fall within this range.
The speed you get on your line is largely dependent on the distance from your home to the exchange or cabinet and you may find that temporary factors like severe weather can reduce the quality of the line.
You can check what your speed estimates are by referring to the Welcome email we sent you when you signed up with us.
You can't usually improve your speeds if they are within your estimates. However, if your speed is slower than it should be, watch our video to find out how you can help speed things up.
What is line speed and throughput speed?
Your line speed, also known as your sync speed, is the maximum speed at which your router can connect to the Internet. You can check your line speed by logging into your router and looking for your 'sync rate'. How to do this will vary depending on your router. Our help pages show you how to log into your router and check your connection status and sync rate.
Line speed can change over time and you may find that it can change each time you reboot your router. The distance from your home to the exchange or cabinet will affect it, and temporary factors like severe weather can reduce the quality of the line.
Your line speed will always be higher than your throughput speed.
Whereas your line speed is a measure of how well your line can carry data to your router, the actual speed you see when you're online depends on many other factors.
Most speed checkers will show the speed at which data is downloaded to your PC, laptop, tablet or phone – this is known as your throughput speed.
Throughput speed will always be slower than your line speed. It can be affected by different things, like the website you're on, your Wi-Fi connection, if you're online at a busy time (things tend to get busier on the network at peak periods 8pm -10pm), how many people are sharing your connection, and the quality of your telephone line.
A quick and easy way to check your throughput speed is to go to mybroadbandspeed.co.uk and follow the steps to run a few tests. If the results are slower than the estimate we gave you when you first signed up, have a look at our problem-solving tips.
You can also run a more detailed speed test at BT Wholesale speedtest.btwholesale.com
What is the Minimum Guaranteed Speed?
Plusnet is a signatory to Ofcom's Voluntary Speed Code of Practice. Under the Code we aim to make sure you're aware of the estimated broadband speed you should receive and have the opportunity to end your contract without paying an early termination charge, if you don't receive your Minimum Guaranteed Speed.
If your speed consistently falls below the Minimum Guaranteed Speed you should contact us. We'll try to fix the issue and aim to get your speed above the minimum and, if possible, within your original speed estimate range.
If we can't get this resolved within a minimum period of 30 days you can discuss the issue with us. You'll be given the opportunity to leave your contract without paying an early termination charge.
If you signed up before 31st May 2017 then you won't have a Minimum Guaranteed Speed, however we will always do our best to make sure your broadband speed falls within the estimated speed range for your line.
You can find out more on our Ofcom Speed Code of Practice page.
What is the difference between standard and fibre broadband speeds?
Standard broadband speed
The average download speeds on our Unlimited product is 10MbΦ, but the actual speed you'll get is affected by:
- How far you are from the telephone exchange - the further away you are, the slower it'll be
- The quality of your phone line - if it's in poor condition, it won't be as fast
- The type of broadband available where you live - check your speed and products available at your location via ‘check availability' on our home page.
Fibre broadband speed
Customers on Unlimited Fibre Extra get on average 66Mb†, but the actual speed you'll get is affected by:
- How far you are from the green cabinet - the further away you are, the slower it'll be
- The quality of your phone line - if it's in poor condition, it won't be as fast
- The package you chose - Unlimited Fibre gives you an average download speed of 36Mb† at peak-times in the evening and, depending on your line speed estimate you might be able to upgrade to Unlimited Fibre Extra which provides an average download speed of 66Mb†.
Φ†Based on speed available to at least 50% of customers at peak time (8-10pm). Speeds vary by location.. Check your speed via 'What broadband speed can I get' on our home page.
How fast will my broadband be when I first get it?
When we first set up your broadband, we won't know exactly how fast it'll be. It'll take a little while to get to a more settled speed. Here's what you can expect.
The first fourteen days
To find out your eventual speed, we'll run some tests from your telephone exchange. Because of that, the speed will go up and down and you might get disconnected a few times. But don't worry, that doesn't mean there's a problem; it just means we're trying to find the best balance between speed and reliability for you.
After fourteen days
Your broadband will settle into a speed close to the estimate we gave when you signed up. Small changes are normal and nothing to worry about. If there's a problem affecting your connection, the speed will slow down for a while to give you the most reliable service possible.
What sort of things can slow down my broadband?
Any fault will slow down your broadband, especially if it keeps disconnecting because of it. When that happens, it can take up to three days before it goes back to normal while we test and adjust your connection to find the best, most reliable speed.
Faults on the line
If there's a fault on the phone line, you may have trouble connecting to the Internet. Usually, when the phone line is fixed, your connection will go back to normal. But because that's happened, the speed will drop for the next few days while we sort out your connection again.
If you're online using Wi-Fi, several things can slow down your connection. These include things like how far away you are from your router, whether you have thick brick walls, or any interference from household appliances. If that's the case, try our tips for getting a better Wi-Fi signal.
Household appliances like cordless phones, baby monitors and microwaves can cause interference, especially to Wi-Fi, and slow your speed down.
Not using microfilters
A micro-filter is a device that has a plug and two sockets. If you don't have two sockets on your master socket you'll need a filter on every phone socket that you're using in your home. You plug it into your phone socket in the wall and then plug your broadband and phone cables into it. It stops the two signals interfering with each other.
Note: If you do have a modern 2-socket faceplate with a socket marked ‘Broadband' or ‘ADSL' you mustn't use a separate microfilter – just plug your router directly into that already-filtered socket.
Heavy rain and thunderstorms can play havoc with your broadband. They can even damage your equipment permanently. If there's a really bad storm, it's a good idea to unplug your broadband router until it's over.
If you've got an old computer (more than three years old), it might be slower because it's having trouble running the latest software and programs; so when you go online, it seems as if it's your broadband that's slow. Older laptops may also have slower Wi-Fi because of the network cards in them.
Viruses also slow everything down, so make sure your computers are protected against them. We recommend getting Plusnet Protect powered by McAfee.
Even though our network won't slow down noticeably at peak times (between 8pm and 10pm), some specific websites or downloads might.
How can I make sure I'm getting the fastest speed possible?
There are some things you can do to help.
Leave your router switched on
It's best to leave it on, even at night. When you switch it off and on a lot, it makes it look like your line's unstable. When that happens, your telephone exchange will temporarily make your speed lower because it thinks your line can't cope with anything higher.
Check your Wi-Fi signal
Using Wi-Fi? If you've got a lot of devices connected at the same time, it'll slow down your connection. If you're using a desktop or laptop, try connecting it to your router with an Ethernet cable. If you're getting a low signal a lot, try these tips to improve it.
A microfilter is a device with two sockets that you plug into your phone socket in the wall. It'll stop your broadband and phone line from interfering with each other. If you don't use one, your broadband could be slower, not work at all, or you might hear a high-pitched noise when you make phone calls.
You need a filter on every phone socket that you're using in your home (unless your master socket has two sockets with one dedicated to broadband already). So, as well as the phone socket you use for your broadband, make sure you use a microfilter in any other phone sockets that are used for:
- Set-top boxes
- Burglar alarms
- Fax machines
Try not to use phone extension cables
Extension cables can cause interference on the line, which slows down your broadband. It's better to use Wi-Fi if your router and computer are too far away from each other to connect with a cable. If you do need to use a phone extension cable, make sure it's new, high-quality and as short as possible.
Use the master socket
This is the best place to plug in your router. You'll usually find it where your phone line comes into your home.
Some homes don't have master sockets. In that case, use the one closest to where your phone line comes into your home. Have a look at our video if you'd like to find out more.
Switch off interleaving
Interleaving is what we do to improve your broadband signal and give you a more reliable connection. It can add a small delay to your connection, which can affect you if you do things like online gaming. Switching off interleaving can give you a less reliable service. But if you find your connection too slow and you'd like to switch it off, just give us a call or chat to us online and we'll sort that out for you. (This only works for standard broadband, so you won't be able to switch it off if you've got fibre broadband).
What if I am unhappy with the speed you are providing?
If we can't provide a speed equal to or better than the Minimum Guaranteed Speed we promised you, you should contact us. We'll work with you to try and fix the issue. You can see Ofcom's speed code of practice for more information on what this means.
If we're not able to resolve your fault within a minimum period of 30 days, you have the right to leave without paying any Early Termination charges. If you want to do this you should speak to our Customer Options Team.
We may provide offers, but these don't impact your right to leave your contract if your speed is consistently less than your Minimum Guaranteed Speed.